Indonesian Researchers Use Coffee Grounds To Create Light Fast-Charging EV Batteries

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Earlier this month, a team from the University of Indonesia’s Department of Engineering, Metallurgy, and Materials Engineering (DTMM FTUI) in Depok discovered a method to convert coffee grounds into graphite, a type of carbon that can be added to the anode active material within electric vehicle (EV) batteries. 

They have also discovered a method to convert coconut shell waste into activated carbon, which can be fed to the anode active material, taking the nation’s aspirations of becoming a crucial figure in the EV sector a step ahead.

Professor Anne Zulfia Syahrial, the team’s leader, said that their lithium-ion battery is constructed of lithium titanate oxide (LTO), which provides a more consistent electric current, thereby, making it less prone to short circuit incidents during charging, than graphite lithium batteries used in most EVs.

However, graphite batteries have a capacity of 372 mAh/g, which is more than LTO’s capacity of 175 mAh/g. “This is why we sought to create a composite from tin or silicon and activated carbon derived from coconut shell waste.”  Prof Syahrial added, coffee grounds and even plastic waste are converted into graphene, which is then coupled with LTO.

She also suggested that any sort of plastic may be turned into graphene layers in order to combat Indonesia’s reputation as the world’s greatest plastic ocean polluter.

Nevertheless, the research results in light-weighted and fast-charging batteries in comparison to traditional graphite-lithium batteries, Bambang Priyono, Prof Syahrial associate researcher and colleague added.

Batteries used in EVs these days are weighed around 500 kg and take up to 2 hours to get charged, which can be reduced by 200 kg and 30 minutes charging time with the usage of LTO batteries. 

The lightweight results of LTO can account for the higher mileage capacity of electric cars, said researchers, adding that they are working to reduce the chagrin time to 15 minutes.

In accordance with Mr Priyono, the idea to use coffee grounds came about when they saw that Indonesia has a lot of wasted coffee grounds due to its status as a significant coffee producer.

According to Hendri D.S. Budiono, Dean of the Engineering Faculty at the University of Indonesia, this discovery would be beneficial to the growth of Indonesia’s electric car sector. He expects that the sector will ultimately use and commercialize this idea.

The crew also stated that the LTO battery they designed might be utilized to store energy in solar panels if governments are serious about transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.

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